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Kampala City has hugely benefited from NAM, G77+China summits this January

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By Mike Ssegawa

And the winner is Kampala City. It is a splendid time to live in Uganda’s capital. This particular month of January 2024 has been such a time for the political, economy and particularly the tourism sector.

The visitors that have jetted into the revamped Entebbe International airport are going back with great memories of Uganda – especially the lushly green country they have experienced, characteristic of the enigmatic pearl of Africa. Wow – we have heard the whispers – this is such a beautiful country – the visitors said.

We thank God, our President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and the people of Uganda for hosting successfully the Non-Aligned Movement and G77+China meetings, not forgetting the Parliament Speakers meet which kicked off the series of meetings at the newly completed Speke Convention Center at Lake Victoria shores in Munyonyo.

It has been a busy month. The vibe in the city has been high. For the guests that have visited among other places the Uganda Wildlife Education Center in Entebbe with First Lady Janet Kataha Museveni, Kabaka’s palace among other places have great memories of God’s country – none like any other on the planet. On top of the physical beauty, Uganda has offered what it is always been known for – warm friendships, great weather, and of course, sumptuous meals.

That is not to forget the Luganda saying – Ku mbaga tekubula musiwufu. Such as our brothers and sisters who subscribe to the opposition ideas, were unhappy with their big brother’s party at the green lawn – so they attempted to ruin the party. Albeit – unsuccessfully.

The banana trees planting exercise was met with disdain and contempt both locally and internationally –. The smart BBC Africa journalist asked the self-styled opposition leader Bobi Wine, if it was wise or they were cleared to stage disruptive protests with so many guests moving across the town to access their event venues. Bobi responded like a spoiled child; we don’t have a law in Uganda that requires one to seek clearances before staging demos! The Kenyan born anchor certainly knew about the famous Public Order Management Act (POMA) and a former MP and opposition leader hasn’t! anyone needs to ask what Bobi Wine smokes!!!

With visitors in town, the biggest gathering of VIP guests in Kampala since the outbreak of Covid-19, it called for togetherness to show the most of Uganda. This is for today and posterity because for many visitors, they might never come to the country but will talk about it for many years to come. Yet for some – they were here for the first time. 

It means so much for the hoteliers and their peers in the hospitality industry to have such precious jewels in the country. Only Bobi Wine and his friends think otherwise! It takes a special brain to think like them.

For the lazy to think, a simple google task, “why do nations compete to host international events?” would offer numerous answers such as these I have just found:

International sports events offer a wide range of benefits to both the host country and the participating nations. These events can have a positive impact on various aspects of society, including social, economic, cultural, and diplomatic dimensions.

It provides a platform for national unity and city pride. Hosting international sports events such as the Olympics, Fifa World Cup, or the Super Bowl is the reason for a significant amount of economic development in countries.

Host cities enjoy an increased global profile, growth in local employment, immediate and short-term economic benefits, and increased long-term investment.

By the time NAM and G77+China would be over this week, Uganda would have added magnificent meeting space for future meetings in Speke Convention Center Munyonyo, the roads in the neighbourhood of Munyonyo, Ggaba, Kajjansi, etc have been all done. Business has been good for hoteliers, transporters, entertainers, foodies, arts and crafts to name it. Hundreds of jobs in all these sectors have their pockets happier. Not forgetting the diplomatic deals signed off at Presidential, Ministerial, departmental and Parastatal levels.

Indeed, it takes “special” brains to think NAM and G77+China were not Godsent for Uganda, and that the country hasn’t gotten more than value for the money invested in such huge events, which have covered the entire calendar month of January 2024. 

The writer is a journalist and serves as deputy RDC for Mukono District.

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